What Passports, Visas and Vaccinations You'll Need
While a lot of Australians travel to the United States every year, there is still a little bit of organising before you set off. This article will fill you in on what you need to know before you go. We'll cover using your passport, the visas you need and whether there are any vaccinations you require before you leave.
Before you head off, learn about:
- Using an Australian Passport to travel to the US
- Do Australians need a visa to travel to the US?
- Do Australians need any vaccinations to visit the US?
- Using other passports
Using an Australian passport to travel to the US
Having an Australian passport makes it pretty easy to travel to the US. There are a few things you still need to keep in mind though:
- Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia.
- Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.
- If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.
How do you apply for an Australian Passport?
You can obtain an Australian Passport Application Form from the Australian Passports website or from your local Australia Post Office. Or, if you have a current passport or one that has expired in the last two years, you can simply renew it online.
How long does it take?
It usually takes up to 10 business days to be processed. If you are in a hurry, you can use the Priority Processing Service which can usually speed this up to two business days from when they receive the relevant documents.
If you’re having passport issues and you're currently in Australia, it's best to contact the Australian Passport Information Service. And if you’re overseas, contact your nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate
Do Australians need a visa to visit the USA?
As an Australian, it's pretty easy to travel to the US because Australia is part of the Visa Waiver Program. Essentially, we can travel to the US without a visa. The catch is that you still have to apply for authorisation through the Electronic System for Authorisation (ESTA) before you go. This enables citizens of Australian travellers to enter the United States.
What You Need to apply:
- Valid passport
- Valid credit card or PayPal to pay the $14USD per application
- Your contact information
- Your most recent employment information, if applicable
Do Australians need vaccinations to visit the USA?
The short answer is, no.
Having said that though, whenever you travel you should make sure you're up to date with routine vaccinations. But we're not doctors, if you have any concerns it's best to consult your GP.
Travelling to the USA using a different passport
Like Australia, there are a number of countries that fall under the Visa Waiver Program which means with another passport, you just need to apply for a ESTA in order to visit the US. You can find out the full list of countries this applies to here.
The cost for the ESTA is $14USD, payable online by credit card. An ESTA is an individual document which means that you need one for everyone in your travel party, including kids!
You apply through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Once it is approved, you can travel to the US Visa free!
Here are some things you should consider when applying for your ESTA and planning your travel:
- If you are travelling visa free under the Visa Waiver Program and your passport is not valid for 90 days, you will be admitted until the date the passport expires.
- When checking in, or on arrival at a US port, you'll need to produce an onward or return ticket. You'll also need to provide an address in the United States where you'll stay, even if it's your hotel or hostel.
- You should apply for an ESTA well in advance of travel so that you have time to apply for a visa if your ESTA application is denied.
- If you get a new passport after getting or applying for an ESTA, you will need to apply for a new ESTA using the new passport number.
- Make sure all details are correct. If there is a discrepancy between the ESTA, your ticket information or passport details, you could be denied entry or at least referred for secondary inspection by an immigration official. This would not be a good start to your holiday!
- Being a citizen or eligible national of a Visa Waiver Program country.
- Not currently in possession of a visitor's visa.
- Travelling for 90 days or less.
- Travelling to the United States for business, pleasure, or transit.
What You Need:
- Valid passport from a Visa Waiver Program country
- Valid credit card or PayPal to pay the US $14 per application
- Your contact information
- Your most recent employment information, if applicable.
What happens if your ESTA is rejected?
Unfortunately, in the unlikely case that your ESTA is rejected there is no appeal procedure in place. It means you will have to apply for a visa through an Embassy or Consulate of the United States.
You'll need to apply for a visa before you travel if:
- your ESTA application is denied
- you are travelling on an Emergency Passport, Document of Identity or Provisional Travel Document
- you are a national of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen, or you have travelled to any of these countries since the 1st of March 2011